Cleo Coyle’s Oatmeal Cookie Brittle (No Flour, No Butter, No Kidding!)

Print Friendly and PDF


This recipe was featured 
by New Jersey Family Magazine 
for their 12 Days of Cookies.


The holidays in my big, Italian family were always gastronomically glorious. Several of my relatives were (and still are!) in the food or restaurant business and my aunts, great aunts, and cousins were all excellent cooks, most of whom took pride in giving trays of homemade Italian cookies as holiday gifts.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

I learned much growing up at the knees of these folks, and (no surprise) I was a chunky monkey through much of my girlhood. Over the years, the bathroom scale has gone up and down, but I’ve never let it kill my joy of cooking and eating. The older I become, the more I channel my foodie passion into experimenting with recipes, challenging myself to make them lighter and healthier—without giving up the pleasure of flavor...




Of course, I still enjoy baking up decadent treats. To see the many (mainly chocolate) recipes featured in one of my most popular Coffeehouse Mysteries, Murder by Mocha, like these ganache-dipped chocolate chip cookie dough bites, click here. :)

For today, I'm sharing a somewhat healthier cookie option for your holiday trays: Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle. There is no flour in my recipe yet the cookie is delightfully crispy and chewy. There is no butter yet the caramelization in the baking makes the cookie taste buttery. It’s also packed with the heart-healthy whole grain of oatmeal, the wonderful Omega-3 nutrition of walnuts and the antioxidants of raisins.

(I know, I know!) So the cookies have a great personality. How do they taste? My husband, Marc, who often cooks with me, declared this one of the best oatmeal treats he’s ever eaten. Certainly, if you prefer your oatmeal cookies thick and soft, you won't agree—and might be happier using the “drop cookie” instructions I provide instead. But if you’re game for a thin, crisp yet chewy cookie that’s full of flavor, the brittle may work for you.

This recipe is also pretty versatile. You can keep it healthy and simple or you can tart it up for holiday or dessert trays, adding toffee bits, Craisins, butterscotch and/or white chocolate chips. 



AN OAT BY ANY OTHER NAME 

Finally, this recipe calls for “quick cooking oats,” and in case any of you are wondering…

QUESTION: What’s the difference between Quick Cooking Oats, Rolled Oats, and Steel Cut Oats? Is one “healthier” than the other? Can I substitute one for another in a recipe? 




ANSWER: (1) Steel cut oats (left) are whole oats that have been chopped up a bit. (2) Rolled oats (center) are whole oats that have been steamed and rolled flat. (3) Quick cooking oats (which is what this recipe calls for) are rolled oats that have been chopped up even further so they'll cook faster. 

All three of these oats carry nearly the same amount of fiber and nutrition. The primary difference among them is in how they’re cut. Read more hereAs for recipes, do not substitute. Any recipe the specifies a certain kind of oats is attempting to create a specific texture in the end product, so substituting one type for another will produce less than optimum results. 




Cleo Coyle’s
Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle
(Or drop cookies)


As readers of this blog know, whole grained oats and I are old friends. For today’s recipe, I’m employing the same technique I used in my Oatmeal Cookie Muffins(For a PDF of that recipe, click here.) 

The technique is simply this: I soak the oats overnight. This hydrates the oats, allowing the mixture to develop great flavor and the proper texture for the recipe. The next day, I simply stir in a few more ingredients and then bake the whole thing as a large, flat pan cookie. It hardens as it cools. Then I’ll either break it up like brittle or cut it into shapes with a pizza cutter. You can also create drop cookies from this recipe, just be sure to flatten them out with the crisscross of fork tongs before cooking. 






To download a PDF 
copy of this recipe that
you can print, save
or share, click here.





My highly sophisticated method for finely
chopping nuts: Seal whole walnuts in a
plastic bag and bang away. Whole
walnuts are less expensive than
pre-chopped and can't we all use a
little primal pounding therapy?
Makes about 24 pieces of brittle or 2 dozen drop cookies 

INGREDIENTS

For the overnight mix:

2 cups “quick cooking” oatmeal (not instant, not rolled)

1 cup light brown sugar 
1/3 cup apple sauce (natural, 
no-sugar added) 
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil 
1-1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice (I use Penzeys; you can also mix your own, see how below**) 

For the next day additions: 

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (chop first, and then measure) 
1/4 cup raisins

Tasty variations: Replace raisins with Craisins or dried cranberries; replace walnuts with finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts.


Holiday add-ins: 1/4 cup toffee bits (such as Heath brand Bits ’O Brickle). In addition, try adding 1/2 cup butterscotch chips; OR 1/2 cup white chocolate chips; OR split the amount, adding 1/4 cup of butterscotch and 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips.

**Make Your own Apple Pie Spice (from About.com): For every 1 teaspoon mix the following spices: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (some cooks replace cardamom with ginger)

DIRECTIONS

Step 1 – Overnight soak: Into a plastic container, stir together the quick-cooking oats, light brown sugar, apple sauce, oil, and apple pie spice. Mix until well combined. Seal the plastic container and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Do not skip this step. You must allow the oats to hydrate and the flavors to develop. (Do not soak longer than 48 hours.) 





Step 2 – Create the dough: Add in the egg, salt, vanilla, finely chopped walnuts, and raisins. Mix well. (If you are adding any other optional extras, fold them in at this time.) 





Step 3 – Line your pan: Preheat oven to 350ΒΊ F. Very important: You must line a baking sheet or half-sheet pan with parchment paper. If you do not line the pan, you will not be able to lift the brittle off the hot pan and cool it properly. 





Step 4 – Flatten the dough: The secret to this cookie is spreading it very thin. So dump the dough onto the lined pan and use a fork (yes a fork, it works best) to flatten the dough into an extremely thin layer (around 1/8 inch). 





Step 5 – Bake and cool: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cookie is done when it turns a light brown, feels fairly firm to the touch in the center, and is crisp around its edges. (See my photos.) Remove pan from oven and see below for options on cutting. 






Option A - Break like brittle: Slide the parchment paper off the hot pan and onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. You can speed up this process by sliding the rack into the refrigerator. Once the cookie is hard, break it into pieces with your hands, as you would peanut brittle. To keep the brittle from become too dry or stale, store it sealed in a plastic container. 







Option B - Slice into shapes: For this option, you'll want to under-bake the brittle slightly, leaning more toward 25 minutes rather than 30. When the pan cookie is finished baking, slide it, parchment paper and all, onto a cutting board. Quickly, while the pan cookie is still warm, use a pizza cutter to slice off the rough ends off the cookie, creating a straight edge on all four sides. Now slice up the warm cookie. Cut first into large squares. Then slice the squares into diagonals to create triangles. Once it's completely cool, store it sealed in a plastic container. 



(Option B - Sliced into Triangles)


Option C - Drop Cookies: Instead of making one big pan cookie, you can simply drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto a lined baking sheet. With the prongs of a fork, crisscross each mound to flatten, much as you would a traditional peanut butter cookie. Bake for about 15 minutes. 




The drop cookies in my photos are all dressed up for the holidays and include my optional add-ins: butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and toffee bits. 






Tip: 
I used Penzeys Apple Pie Spice in this recipe. Penzeys makes theirs from a mix of China and Korintje cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. Frankly, I didn’t know the difference between China and Korintje cinnamon, but Penzeys catalog educated me. China Cinnamon (Tung Hing) is extra sweet, spicy and strong. Indonesia Cinnamon (Korintje) is as strong as China cinnamon but smoother, more mellow, and not as nippy. I love the two cinnamons working together to give the best flavor possible to my cookies.

(For more info, click here.  Last I checked, their chatty, informative catalog was free.)






☕ ☕ ☕



Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

 


☕ ☕ ☕


"ARE YOU READY?"

READY FOR WHAT?

Find out by watching our fun,
new Book Video 
(below)
or view i
t on Facebook
by 
clicking here.





☕ ☕ ☕ ☕ ☕

Just Released!

The NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!


Filled with wonderful twists
and surprises, this is one
Coffeehouse Mystery you
won't want to miss!

To buyn now, click links for... 


🍴


This culinary mystery includes
more than 25 delicious recipes!
To get the Free Recipe Guide,
CLICK HERE.





* * *


Our newest bestselling hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!


Join amateur sleuth Clare Cosi
as she sets out to caffeinate
our nation's capital and solve
a capital crime.

To buy now, click links for... 


☕ ☕ ☕



For the Free
Recipe Guide, 
click here!


* * *


The bestselling Penguin hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!




Once Upon a Grind 
by Cleo Coyle

To buy now, click links for...

A Best of the Year Pick ~ Kings River Life 
"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
A Mystery Guild Selection 

*

Join coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi as she solves the crime against "Sleeping Beauty," opens secret doors (uptown and down), and investigates a cold case that's been unsolved since the Cold War.

*

Wonderful recipes are also featured
in Cleo's 14th culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind including...


* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Dairy-Free Almond Milk Custard
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaway Cookies 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Poor Man's Caviar
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See Once Upon a Grind's 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.



*  *  *






Billionaire Blend:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

To buy now, click links for... 

See Billionaire Blend's
Recipe Guide by
 clicking here.


*  *  * 


The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


GET A FREE
TITLE CHECKLIST 
OF BOOKS IN ORDER


See mini plot summaries 
for every title and news on
 Cleo's next release!




* * *





Book #1 of
which Cleo write under the name 
Alice Kimberly


Haunted Bookshop 
Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, with 
mini plot summaries, by clicking here.


Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.




*  *  * 



Subscribe to Cleo's free Coffeehouse E-Newsletter with bonus recipes, fun info, books news, and drawings for signed books, premium coffees, and more....







*  *  *




Comments and
Questions?

Join Cleo on
Facebook here.


Or leave a comment on Cleo's
"Coffee Talk" Message Board
at her online coffeehouse
by 
clicking here.